Apple’s iPhone 3GS was unveiled nearly 3 years ago in June 2009, and some found its familiar styling and modest hardware upgrades to be disappointing. The handset went on to be Apple’s best-selling smartphone until its successor launched the following year, and the iPhone 4 would be Apple’s best-selling iPhone until the iPhone 4S launched last year and drove the biggest quarter in Apple’s history. The iPhone 3GS will be 3 years and 3 generations old when Apple’s sixth iPhone is unveiled later this year, but one analyst believes the Cupertino, California based company is ready to breathe new life into the handset.
According to Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek, Apple has signed a deal with a “major global distributor” that will target emerging markets around the globe by making the iPhone 3GS available as a less expensive prepaid phone. The analyst doesn’t provide much detail surrounding the deal in his note to clients, though he does believe the wholesale cost of Apple’s third-generation iPhone will drop from $375 to the $200 to $250 range.
Ever the Apple bull, Jefferies also upped its iPhone estimates for the June quarter while the rest of Wall Street panics and Apple’s stock price tumbles. Misek wrote that firms aren’t properly accounting for iPhone production in Hon Hai’s new Brazil plant, and he believes Apple will build between 28 million and 30 million iPhones this quarter, ahead of the Street’s estimates, which range from 26 million to 28 million units on average.